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New UPC Insurance CEO lists top priorities

Margie Manning

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UPC Insurance currently is headquartered at 800 2nd Ave. S.

Dan Peed, the new chairman and CEO of United Insurance Holdings, says his top priority is generating an underwriting profit for the St. Petersburg-based property and casualty insurance firm.

Dan Peed, chairman and CEO, United Insurance Holdings.

Peed addressed analysts Wednesday for the first time as the top executive of United Insurance (Nasdaq: UIHC), one of the largest companies headquartered in St. Petersburg. The company said last year it would create about 300 more jobs and build a new corporate headquarters at 800 1st St. S., across the street from its current headquarters, although it has delayed closing the deal until later this year.

Peed, an insurance industry veteran, was named chairman and CEO effective July 1, succeeding former CEO John Forney, who left the company.

United Insurance, which does business as UPC Insurance, last month named other top executives. Brad Martz was named president, in addition to serving as chief financial officer and Chris Dittman was named chief risk officer.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to lead this executive team at UPC. There’s a huge opportunity to take our underwriting to the next level and improve our results, and we are well on our way,” Peed said during a conference call to discuss second quarter 2020 earnings.

United Insurance, which does business as UPC Insurance, reported net income attributable to the company of $24.3 million, or 56 cents a share. That doesn’t include unrealized gains on investments. UPC had a net loss of $2.9 million, or 7 cents a share, in Q2 2019. Total revenue for the just-ended quarter was $216.4 million, compared to $204.8 million a year ago.

“As of the end of July we crossed over $1 billion premium in force on our personal lines book, which is beginning to reflect the rate increases we’ve taken over the last couple of years and has the potential to generate significant underwriting profit going forward,” Peed said.

He’d also like to see commercial specialty insurance, including its Journey Insurance Co. and its American Coastal Insurance Co. subsidiaries, become a larger point of UPC’s offerings.

Additionally, Peed said he is excited about the technology platform UPC is rolling out, in part because it will cut expenses.

“In part there’s the expense ratio, but in bigger part there’s ease of use for the agents and also the potential that that opens up for us from a technology perspective,” Peed said.

Overall the property insurance market is seeing rate hikes, an indication of a “hard” insurance market.

“A hardening property insurance market provides UPC with a great opportunity to be more selective and optimize our risk portfolio for long-term profitability, so that’s what we intend to focus on,” Martz said.

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